You don’t need to have a PhD or hire a PI to figure out the Invasion that inspired The British Modbeats. A native of the UK, Fraser Loveman now living in St Catharines, Ontario, he first got exposure into the arts as a dancer. But by ’63 he’d turned to music, and started up the garage bands The Lintels playing the high schools and the like. That morphed into The Mods, then The Modbeats, then the British Modbeats.
All the while they were honing their Mersey Beat look and sound, and by 1963 the lineup consisted of Joe Colonna on bass, guitarists Mike Cogichuk and Greig Foster, and drummer Robby Jeffry. They graduated from The Castle in St Catharines to the clubs around the area doing Stones, Pacemakers, Animals, and the like, and caught the attention of Stan Klees, who signed them to his Red Leaf Records label in ’66. Klees’ studio knobs resume included the likes of Little Caesar & The Consuls, Jack London & The Sparrows, The Rainvilles, and Robbie Lane & The Disciples, among others. On a side note, he was also a member of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, a teenage DJ at CHUM, a music publisher, co-founder of RPM Magazine, and co-inventor of the MAPL logo on your records with his brother .
With him producing them at his Tamarack Studios, the group recorded a bunch of covers, starting with a pair of singles before the end of the year. Their version of Doris Troy’s “Watcha Gonna Do About It?” promptly went top 40 in Canada, with their spin on The Everlys’ “Price of Love” on the flip side also getting some airplay. They followed it up with another pair of covers – “Love’s Just A Broken Heart,” which just missed the top 40, b/w “You’re My World.”
MOD IS THE BRITISH MODBEATS was their only full album, released in the spring of 1967. Along with the first two singles, it contained a pair of new ones, “Sorrow” (made most popular by David Bowie) b/w “Try To Understand” and “Somebody Help Me” b/w “Ain’t Nobody Home But Me.”
Word was getting around about their look and sound, and they made a couple of trips up and down the eastern seaboard Stateside, even making an appearance on the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. They played solo, and also backed up The Rascals and The McCoys over their career.
Things were looking for the band, but Loveman left in ’67 to form The Foundation, then The Village STOP. That didn’t last long, and he tried his hand with an array of other groups over the years – Crocodile, The Frazer Loveman Group, and the Yenmore Blues Band. None of them worked out though, and he eventually faded out of the limelight, showing up now and again for various one-offs and sporadic tours.
The British Modbeats meanwhile were left with contractual obligations, and with Cologna assuming the lead vocals duties, they finished up some dates into early ’68. He tried to resurrect the group with various players, but changing styles left them out in the cold, and by early the next year they were officially disbanded. Before long, everyone had gone on to other projects, including Looking Glass (featuring Brian Gagnon, later of The Hunt, or left the business all together.
Loveman eventually got out of the business all together, as well, aside from the occasional one-off, like reuniting with Colonna at the Fonthill Bandshell in 2010. He worked in a lumber mill for a time, as well as doing theatre work and operating a concert hall in Toronto, before dieing in 2018 after a short illness. Through the generosity of local resident and longtime friend Gary Sawatzky, a new bursary was set up at Laura Secord Secondary School to one graduating student planning on post-secondary studies in music.
MOD IS THE BRITISH MODBEATS (1967)
Whatcha Gonna Do About It
Love’s Just A Broken Heart
The Price Of Love
Ain’t Nobody Home But Me
Land Of A 1,000 Dances
Somebody Help Me
Try To Understand
Don’t Answer Me